Michael Geist Concludes 30 Days of DRM

Version of 30 Days of DRM
Canadian Copyright reform is in the air. In anticipation of possible legislative action this fall, Michael Geist’s 30 day series of daily articles “30 Days of DRM” has come to an end. While he ultimately argues, as I do, that it would be preferable NOT to adopt
DMCAlike anti-circumvention legislation in Canada, the Conservative government may succumb to the copyright lobby. These articles, which are quite good, propose limitations that should be included in any such Canadian DMCA-like legislation to fairly protect Canadian consumers and to guard against the multitude of problems created by the U.S.’s enactment of anti-circumvention measures in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

30 Days of DRM:
Day 1 – Linking Copyright and Anti-Circumvention (Markets)
Day 2 – Region Coding (Markets)
Day 3 – Oversite of DRM Misuse (Markets)
Day 4 – DRM Misuse Sanctions (Markets)
Day 5 – DRM Labeling and Consumer Awareness (Public Protection)
Day 6 – Interoperability (Public Protection and Markets)
Day 7 – DRM-Free Library Deposits (Public Protection)
Day 8 – Privacy (Circumvention Rights)
Day 9 – Reverse Engineering (Circumvention Rights)
Day 10 – Security Research(Circumvention Rights)
Day 11 – Involuntary Installation of Software (Circumvention Rights)
Day 12 – Research and Private Study (Circumvention Rights)
Day 13 – Criticism, Review and News Reporting (Circumvention Rights)
Day 14 – Private Copying (Circumvention Rights)
Day 15 – Artistic Access (Circumvention Rights)
Day 16 – System Repair (Circumvention Rights)
Day 17 – Broken or Obsolete Technology (Circumvention Rights)
Day 18 – Backup Copies of Software (Circumvention Rights)
Day 19 – Backup Copies of Digital Consumer Products (Circumvention Rights)
Day 20 – Public Domain (Circumvention Rights)
Day 21 – Print Disabilities Circumvention Rights)
Day 22 – Libraries (Circumvention Rights)
Day 23 – Education Institutions (Circumvention Rights)
Day 24 – Time Shifting (Circumvention Rights)
Day 25 – Statutory Obligations (Circumvention Rights)
Day 26 – Investigation of Concealed Code (Circumvention Rights)
Day 27 – Government Works (DRM Policy)
Day 28 – Review of New Circumvention Rights (Circumvention Rights)
Day 29 – No Ban on Circumvention Devices (Foundation Issue)
Day 30 – Prohibition on Contractual Circumvention of Rights (Foundation Issue)
30 Things You Can Do

Source: Michael Geist’s 30 Days of DRM Page

France’s Diluted iTunes Plan Becomes Law

The final watered-down law requires that Apple and others with proprietary music DRM formats merely respond to competitive requests for information necessary to make their products compatible with proprietary formats – at the expense of the company requesting interoperability. This is very different from the original proposed law that would have permitted consumers to break the proprietary DRM if Apple (or others) did not permit/work with competitors to develop interoperable products.

Sources: CNet | Engadget | Silicon.com | Macworld | FT.com | San Jose Mercury News (AP) | CBS | MSNBC.com | Out-Law.com | ZD-Net | DRM-Watch

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France Rolls Over on DRM Rights Law – Fails to Mandate Interoperability as Hoped

The original proposed French legislation would have, among many other things, forced Apple to open up iTunes DRM to third-party licensing (or legal hacking) so that consumers can play purchased in one on-line music site on portable music devices and computers that are designed to work with another music store. The final bill out of committee settled on a system keeping DRM technologies entirely proprietary and unlicenseable when the copyright owner approves. This final bill is expected to be voted on in parliament on June 30.

Dale’s Comment: Apple and the RIAA/ifpi have one another victory in the ongoing war over consumer rights in electronic music purchases. With the control over the online music distribution industry that Apple and the music labels have, its unlikely that even the most successful artists with the most leverage would ever disapprove of this system. If an artist disapproved of the online distribution system, they’d likely be shut out. It’s hard to imagine Apple and the music industry would create an alternative rights system for such copyright owners to use if they “disapproved” of the current consumer unfriendly system. Denmark, Norway, and Sweden will be the next battle grounds.

Sources: ars technica | New York Times | Wired | Silicon.com | Pocket-lint | CNet | Washington Post (Reuters) | Boston Globe (AP) | Reuters | Playfuls | ZDNet | Out-law.com | MP3.com | CD Freaks | The Register | DRM Watch

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French Pro-Consumer DRM Law Reportedly Gutted by Senate Committee

Translated Text of Key Article 7 of Bill
(courtesy Freedom-to-Tinker.com)
After much fuss, Article 7 of France’s new Copyright Bill introduced by the lower house on February 21, may have been gutted by the Senate Commission on Cultural Affairs. Among other things, that article had required DRM makers to allow anyone to build interoperable technology.

Sources: ars technica | Boing Boing | Inquirer | Engadget | MacDaily News | EE Times | ZD Net | Techweb | DRM Watch | PC Pro

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Geist’s CBC Interview: France Tunes Apple Out: Apple Bites Back

In this CBC ‘The Hour’ episode Michael Geist is interviewed about the recent proposed French National Assembly Bill. If passed by the French Senate, the law would require companies such as Apple, Sony and Microsoft to open their DRM/TPM so that competitive media player manufacturers can make their products interoperable. With this law, just as CDs can be played on any CD player, regardless of the manufacture, digital content (eg: movies and music ) purchased online would be playable on any media player. Consumers would be assured that the thousands of dollars spent to purchase music online from, say Apple’s iTunes, will be playable on any competitive media player purchased in the future. Online music consumers would not be locked into using only the hardware provided by the music vendor. Michael argues, as do I, that Canada should consider following the more consumer friendly, ‘fair use’ copyright trends in France, Australia and Denmark rather than the overly restrictive RIAA/MPAA-lobbied-for DMCA/DRM approach adopted by the U.S. and Britain.

Source: CBC’s ‘The Hour’ Show <-- Note: Follow this link and select the first “France Tunes Apple out; Apple Bites Back” segment (dated March 22, 2006) to play the interview in Windows Media Player or Real Player.

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Denmark May Follow France to challenge Apple DRM

On the heels of France’s legislative push for DRM interoperability comes word that Denmark is thinking along the same lines. The legislation is not Apple-specific, however. Rather, France (and now Denmark) is pushing for general DRM interoperability that would eliminate customer lock-in.

ars technica | The Register | Mac World | Engadget | iLounge | PC Pro | Inquirer

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Apple Responds to Proposed French Legislation

After quietly watching developments in the French National Assembly, Apple has responded by saying the proposed law would be tantamount to state-sponsored piracy. Apple may abandon the French market.

Dale’s Comment: How ironic! But for the fact that CDs do NOT contain restrictive DRM, the Apple iPod and iTunes would not exist! Apple now argues for a system of content restriction that will prevent future innovations, like the iPod, from being developed. France’s proposed law is similar to Canadian and U.S. laws passed in the 80’s requiring telephone companies to make telephone services interoperable with telephones manufactured by third parties. Apple’s response, of course, is pandering to its music industry clientèle. In the first instance, nothing about this bill facilitates piracy. Indeed, it includes new provisions to fine consumers that engage in music piracy. In the second instance, so long as Apple continues to innovate and Apple’s iPod continues to be the best portable music player on the market, Apple would benefit if this bill became law. In that instance, just as music from unprotected CDs play on the iPod now, music purchased in France from Sony’, Napster’s, Real’s and Microsoft’s online music stores (for instance) would be playable on Apple’s market-leading iPod. Apple must, however, feign disgust to appease its recording industry partners — the same industry players that Apple had to drag kicking and screaming to the increasingly profitable online-digital music distribution market. Digital music distribution is fast eradicating the losses that the music industry has suffered over the last couple years from decreased CD sales. See this related ars technica story: RIAA Crying Wolf All the way to the Bank.

Sources: BBC | Forbes | ars technica | Macnn | Bloomberg | PC Pro | Silicon.com

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French National Assembly Passes Bill to open iTunes DRM – On to the Senate for Approval

Translated Text of Key Article 7 of Bill
(courtesy Freedom-to-Tinker.com)

France’s parliament voted 296-193 in favor of a copyright bill that would be Europe’s first legislation forcing companies such as Apple Computer Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to make music downloads playable on all portable digital players. The bill is set for debate and a vote in the Senate in May.

Sources: Mac Observer | MSNBC | Globe & Mail | Engadget | ars technica | Computer World | Reuters | Financial Times | CNet | Fox News | BBC | Times Online | Forbes | Red Herring | MP3.com | The Register | L.A. Times | Wired | Aljazeera | New York Times | Hollywood Reporter | Xinhua China | John C. Dvorak | DRM Watch

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French Finish Draft of Law to open iTunes

The new law, now set for a vote on Tuesday, would allow consumers to circumvent software that protects copyrighted material–known as digital rights management (DRM)–if it is done to convert digital content from one format to another. Such circumvention is currently illegal in much of the world.

Sources: ZDNet | Wired | New York Times | Reuters | Business Week | CNet | USA Today | L.A. Times | Silicon.com

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French Law Could Open Up iTunes to Any Device

A law being proposed in France would force companies like Apple to open up content downloaded from, say, the iTunes Music Store to be used on non-Apple devices. If they don’t comply, customers would be allowed to break the DRM.

Sources: PC Magazine | engadget | Yahoo! News | Inquirer | Reuters | Boston Globe | ars technica | Globe & Mail | MobileMag | Playfuls | Silicon.com | Business Week | Red Herring | PC Pro

Google to Use Still another Proprietary DRM Scheme

Google has created its own DRM (digital rights management) system for its CES announced video download service, but will support rival systems as well. Not that the world needed another DRM mechanism.

MacDailyNews  |  The Register  |  Information Week  |  InfoWorld  |  TechDirt  |  CIO Today

Related Stories About Google’s Newly Announced Download Service: CNet  |  PC World  |  L.A. Times  |  Reuters  |  Business Week  |  Washington Post  |  Wired  |  Forbes  |  MSN Money  |  Hexus

Digital Rights Mismanagement

How Apple, Microsoft, and Sony cash in on piracy prevention by using it as an anti-competitive, anti-consumer means to lock customers in. All the while, a threat of legal sanctions hang over anyone wanting to break, or anyone willing to assist them in breaking, those locks to move their ‘purchased’ content to a competitive platform or service.


Antitrust Suit Against Apple Over iPod, iTunes to Proceed

Apple Computer Inc. must face several federal and state antitrust claims arising from the operation of its iTunes online music store and the sale of its iPod digital music players, a federal judge in California has ruled. Judge Ware rejected Apple’s argument that the tying allegations must fail because people can buy the iPod and iTunes files separately.

Sources: FindLaw.com

Note: See further details on this case in stories linked to this page on January 6, 2005.

iTunes Locks out DRM-Free Purchases – Breaks PyMusique

Apple closes a "security hole" in the iTunes music store that allows users to purchase songs without DRM attached.

Dale's Note: Several days after this announcement the next version of PyMusique was released, defeating iTunes again. PyMusique has since been superceded by SharpMusique.

Sources: PC World | Engadget | The Register | Wikipedia's "PyMusique" Entry

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Apple Sued Over iTunes DRM Lock-in

iTunes user sues Apple Computer for engaging in monopolistic practices – complains that music purchases from the iTunes Music Store could not be played back on other devices.

Sources: BBC | ars technica | PC World | Macworld| The Register | ZDNet

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Is Real’s Hacking of iPod Legal?

Code-crackers risk fines and prison time when they defeat copy-protection technology, but such draconian rules likely don't apply in the case of RealNetworks and its iPod "hack," legal experts said.

Source: News.com

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RealNetworks Breaks Apple’s hold on iPod

Real Networks announced that it has unlocked some of Apple Computer's most tightly held technology secrets, giving its music a way onto the popular iPod digital music player.

Source: ZDNet

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